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BREAKING: FIPUG drops protest of Vero Electric sale! UPDATED

Save the Sale Petition Drive

After decades of red tape, appeals, and lawsuits, Vero Beach residents are one step closer to getting rid of Vero Electric and welcoming Florida Power and Light. “It was a combination of the petitioning, the sign waving, and I think the ad just set them over the edge,” commented Councilman Val Zudans, referring to why FIPUG dropped their protest to the PSC. Yesterday, the Florida Industrial Power Users Group dropped their protest of the sale of Vero Electric to FPL. Lynne Larkin, who claimed that the Civic Association of Indian River County, Inc had 900 members, also dropped her protest stating that the CAIRC “finds it impossible to get witnesses scheduled.” 

Val Zudans

Dr. Val Zudans, City of Vero Beach, Council Member

There are still protests from two of the local curmudgeons; however, it is believed that they have no legal standing.

Zaqary Sanders and the Indian River Taxpayer’s Association were instrumental in the fight against FIPUG and the local protesters. With the help of the John Kistler, President of the Taxpayer’s Association, Sanders drafted a petition calling for FIPUG to drop its protest of the sale. That petition was shared online through where over 1,500 signatures were colelcted. Many restaurants in Vero Beach collected petition signatures in hopes that their businesses would benefit from lower electric costs in the long run. Sanders and the Taxpayer’s Association also organized to petition outside of FPL’s two open houses. A previous Indian River Politics article detailed the efforts to counter-protest this objection (read more here).

Last month, Sanders was joined by Councilman Zudans, Mayor Howle, and other concerned residents outside of the Publix on Miracle Mile, calling for a boycott of FIPUG members, PepsiCo and Tropicana - both of which are enjoying FPL rates.

Councilman Zudans bought an ad in a local paper providing contact information for PSC commissioners and social media handles for FIPUG memebrs, again asking for Vero Beach residents to make their voices heard.

Sanders, only 20 years old, was the campaign manager for Councilman Val Zudans’s bid for Vero Beach City Council. When asked why he is still involved, Sanders stated that his job wasn’t done until Vero Electric was sold. “I am ecstatic,” said Sanders. “We are one step closer to this being done and over with. My hope is that the other two holdouts will drop their protests soon, seeing as they have no leg to stand on so that FPL and the City of Vero Beach can close by October 1st.”

UPDATE: It was previously reported that CAIRC had dropped its appeal, but they only dropped the request for an expedited hearing. Their challenge remains. 

Review the documents:


Primary Predictions and Voting Site Finder


10 Facts about why Voting is Important

Today is the FINAL DAY to vote in the primary and local elections. All vote by mail has come in, the early voting sites are closed or converted to regular voting sites and the precincts are all open until 7pm tonight.

Find your Indian River County polling place here 

The Republican and Democratic parties will pick their candidates to square off in the November General Election:


Statewide election predictions:

U.S. Senator:

 Governor Rick Scott obviously blows out the opponent and receives maybe a 16% protest vote, campaign rolls on.

Bill Nelson (D)


Democratic nominee will be Gwen Graham

Republican nominee will be Ron Desantis

Neither has selected a Lieutenant Governor (article coming) but they have 9 days following the election to decide.

Commissioner of Agriculture:

Matt Caldwell slightly edges out Denise Grimsley on the Republican side with Baxter Troutman coming in a respectable third. Nickie Fried, cannabis lobbyist and advocate, smokes the competition and locks up the Democrat nomination.

Attorney General:

Many pundits call this one a done deal for Ashley Moody, but this race has tightened up down the stretch with Frank White surging. She still carries the day and will face off against Sean Shaw on the Democrat side in 70 days.

Indian River County Local Elections:

Congratulations to Commissioner Joe Flescher and Peter O’Bryan who were re-elected at qualifying when no challenger surfaced to challenge them. So, there will be no change on the County Commission this year, so on to school board where all the action has been.

District 1 School Board:

At least one local election will be decided today in Indian River County, the District 1 School Board seat vacated by Shawn Frost who chose not to seek a second term. Eugene Wolff or Mara Schiff will be the winner today and face no run-off. Eugene Wolff has served on Sebastian City Council so he has political experience, but his campaign efforts have been lackluster (no digital, not much mail, signs in “bootleg” locations). Most who meet him call him “an odd duck”. To his advantage, he is in against a “p-hat” wearing, Broward liberal who relocated to Indian River County and lives on the communal living society at Kashi. Most conservatives are holding their noses and voting for Wolff, more accurately voting AGAINST Schiff. There are some Republicans who have said they are impressed by Dr. Schiff’s credentials as an educator and can’t get past Wolff’s oddness who said they will be filling in the bubble for Mara, so it remains uncertain how well Wolff holds the base. Schiff has had the Democratic team behind her and professional consultants and grassroots organizations. She ran a digital campaign and the Democratic Party did a great job of promoting their candidates to their base. This one could be a toss-up and could actually result in the first registered Democrat to be elected to school board since Claudia Jimenez beat Charlie Wilson. Either Schiff or Wolff will be sworn in with the winners of the run-offs November 20th. Will it be the politician or the progressive, the voters will decide and we will know tonight around 9 pm.

Speaking of run-offs. The only way to avoid a run off in the non-partisan school board race is to get 50% +1 vote in the August primary. In district 1, that will happen because it is a head-to-head race. In districts 2 and 4 there are multiple candidates vying to replace Dale Simchick in district 2 and Charles Searcy in district 4. Neither chose to seek re-election.

District 2 School Board

Distric 2 has four candidates and the top two vote-getters will move along. We predict that Devon Dupuis will be the top vote getter followed by Merchon Green. Rosario and Burmudez will be eliminated. Rosario’s campaign imploded after it was revealed in a Florida Daily Article that she was apparently dishonest about her reasons for not working for the district and her poor performance as an administrator was revealed through a public records request. The nail in her coffin was when it was revealed that this “conservative” lady was a life-long Democrat until July 29, 2016. She lost all credibility with the Republican base and will drag down those who supported her fervently after these revelations such as Laura Zorc and Tim Zorc who threw a (n illegal if they did fundraising) event for her a couple days before the election, long after others had backed away from this obviously failed candidate. Ruben Burmudez is well liked and affable, but some are concerned that he won’t have the time be a full time board member because he missed a couple candidate forums and literally phoned in other performances. It likely won’t be an issue because there’s not much chance he is in the top two vote getters and won’t be passing on to the run-off in November. It will likely be a face off between two strong young women who represent different ideologies and world experiences in Merchon Green and Devon Dupuis.

District 4 School Board

District 4 has three candidates now that Laura Zorc’s recruited candidate Kara Darell has dropped out (due to injury?). Anyway, the field is down to two newcomers Teri Barenborg, Stacy Klim (milk backwards), and previously failed and seemingly perennial candidate Randy Heimler. This one is tough to predict. Barenborg has solid conservative support and Klim has the Democratic Party machine behind her but Randy Heimler has spent a lot of his retirement fund on getting to a state defined benefit pension plan and is willing to say whatever it takes to get there. Normally, I’d say Teri wins in the primary because she has conservatives AND the TCpalm endorsement, but she missed the “Super Bowl” of school board forums. Her reasoning in a statement read at the Taxpayers Association school board candidate forum on August 15th was compelling, in that she wanted to be there for her fellow teachers in the pivotal first weeks of school, but it took away a chance for her to shine as a 35 year educator and blow away the other candidates. Klim has the backing of the Democratic party and consultants and also has crossover appeal to parents of students with unique needs and gifts (ESE) so her showing could be respectable and maybe even pull off second place. Randy Heimler has been running so long that he should be sponsored by Nike by now. His obnoxious vehicle has been badged out seemingly forever and he’s spent over $40k of his own money on this campaign. Beyond that, he has a lot of people fooled because he panders to whatever audience he faces and takes opposite positions of school choice in front of the Teachers Union (IRCEA) where he opposes public charters and at the Taxpayers Association and Republican Clubs where he says he’s for school choice. How many people will see through that or believe that he has evolved on the issue in a few short months? TCPalm has been brutual in exposing his financial and legal problems so that has to knock him back a few points, but enough to let Klim slide by? We will know in a few hours on the election, and 70 days on the issues if he is in the run-off. The question in district 4 is if Teri Barenborg wins in August or November. The rest is just plot development.

Although nominated by the district in which they live, school board candidates run county wide and everyone in the county can vote in each of the three districts. Voters county wide can pick one candidate from each of the three districts, no matter where the voter lives. So a voter can pick one candidate in district 2, another in 1, and a third in district 4. 

Get out and vote today, no matter who you are supporting, do your part to shape the community by selecting important decision-makers.">Find your polling place here and stay tuned to for results and after-analysis. Be sure to like us on facebook


Democrats Find Conservative Values: Just in Time to Run for School Board

Republican Mailer Dem Records

Democrats Find Conservative Values: Just in Time to Run for School Board

Guest Column by Shawn R. Frost

An anonymous email received from a teacher who worked at Storm Grove Middle School has sparked questions about how politicians brand themselves.  “I worked with Mrs. Jackie Rosario while I was at Storm Grove Middle.  I remember conversations in which she told me she voted for Obama.  She is an Obama supporter and is not a true conservative.  Some people are characterizing her as conservative but not one person has asked her about her voting history,” the email read.  Because she has “Raised Red Flags” where she apparently lied about the reason she is no longer an Assistant Principal, I wondered if she was being dishonest about her conservatism. And since she cites her “experience”, I think it is important to know what kind of experience she has. Pres. Barack H. Obama was President for 8 years, and I wouldn’t hold his “experience” up as a reason to hire him again via election. Nor would many of the conservative voters who say they are supporting Jackie Rosario.

Fl Daily Rosario

In a county where Republicans outnumber Democrats by 21,226 voters, a bid for public office would be an uphill climb for a Democrat.  The challenge for dedicated Republican voters in races such as School Board where candidates are not allowed to tout their party, is to identify which candidates will represent conservative values.  The challenge for the local Republican Executive Committee is a complicated one.  The local leadership wants to be inclusive to all Republican Candidates, however there is no denying that modus operandi of many wannabe politicians is to change party affiliation before running for office. 

As a service to voters who value a loyal dedication to the party, I have completed some homework on “Republican” candidates running for School Board.   Ruben Bermudez Jr. was last registered Democrat on March 24, 2011. Mr. Burmudez Public Records Voter Information Here.  He did not participate in many forums, but in none does he give enough life history for us to infer the reason for his conversion. Jacqueline Rosario, who has been endorsed by local politician Laura Zorc, has donned all the trappings needed to emulate a Republican.  However, public records show that she was last registered as Democrat on July 29, 

2016. Ms. Rosario Public Records Voter Information Here. This leads me to believe that she very well may have voted for President Obama as the email claims.

Rosario D to R Public Records Request

Screenshot of Rosario Change of Party*

according to the Florida Daily article, Rosario has seemingly lied about her employment history. Is she lying about something as fundamental as her political philosophy? The facts and public records clearly demonstrate that she only made the change barely two years ago.

We will have to let the voters decide whether Jackie is being dishonest. It's interesting how her stories never match the facts when records are requested. One thing we can count on is that Devon Dupuis has never been registered as a Democrat. Mrs. Dupuis Public Records Voter Information Here. She founded the conservative Turning Point USA Chapter at Indian River State College.  She is a member of the Republican Executive Committee and Vice President of Sunrise Republican Club.  If you judge a tree by its fruit, most people would agree that Devon Dupuis is the true conservative in the District 2 School Board Race.

 shawn flag TCPALM

Written By:  Shawn R. Frost

(Never a Democrat)

If there are questions about the results, do your own public records request at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. It's free* to the requester (*taxpayer funded- a real conservative knows the difference)

As a consistent conservative, I do my research, and I bring the FACTS.

Results of Public Records Request to Indian River Supervisor of Elections: Fulfilled by Kathy Crockett 8/21/2018

Vero Electric Rate Payers Fight Stalled Sale with Petition Drive

Save the Sale Petition Drive

photo source: petition (title added)

Vero Beach, Florida

Indian River County

The battle for the sale of the Vero Beach Electric utility entered a new phase as a counter-resistance of fed-up ratepayers comes alive with a social media and grassroots campaign augmented by community events seek to push the sale to FP&L through. Business owners and community leaders are responding to a complaint, seen by many as a politically motivated delaying tactic,

The first offer from FPL to buy Vero Electric can be traced all the way back to the 1920s.  Fast-forward a century, and FPL and Vero residents and still trying to complete the sale.

Each time ratepayers think they have finally won the fight; there are community factions, who believe in big government, that get in the way.  This opposition faction laments that, “the deal is dead,” and claim Vero cannot afford to sell its’ cash cow.  The voters of Vero Beach have passed two referenda to sell Vero Electric, and have now elected a majority of pro-sale candidates 3 elections in a row. 

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First on Facebook-School Board Candidate Responds to Claims He Will Be Absent as a Board Member

 First on Facebook

Cheyenne Luyao "I'd hate to vote for someone who isn't gonna be here and be an absentee board member." (Referring to School Board Candidate, Ruben Burmudez, Dist 2)

Here on, we keep an ear to the ground but an eye on social media. A regular feature we plan to bring to our readers is “First on Social” where  we break things that are happening on social media, and deliver them to your in-box or link to them in case you missed them.

Today in a closed group “Vero Beach Neighborhood”, someone asked for recommendations in the Indian River County School Board races.

One commenter made recommendations and called out Ruben Burmudez for missing two candidate forums and literally “phoning it in” for the TCpalm forum.

Several of Mr. Burmudez’s allies chimed in to support him explaining that he had pre-planned family events and that some of his absences were due to volunteering for charity.

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